Folkadelphia Session: Mason Porter

What continues to make West Chester, PA’s Mason Porter a force to be reckoned with in the Americana and roots community, especially regionally, is the intimacy that they bring to each song. Whether it is in live performance, on record (like their latest Home For The Harvest), or, now, with their Folkadelphia Session, the trio of Joe D’Amico, Tim Celfo, and Paul Wilkinson have an uncanny ability to draw the listener in and keep them close. I can only think that this magical power is the result of a strong and long-standing chemistry between the members. Heck, we know they can all play their instruments and yes, that’s terribly important. They harmonize like the bee’s knees too. But it’s that extra something something that only comes about after years of meshing together that pushes their”good” to “great.” Can we also talk about how tight these guys are when they perform? Beyond chemistry, Mason Porter comes prepared. Folks like to throw around the word “simplistic” to classify MP’s brand of stripped back Americana. Do not fool yourself into thinking that simplicity implies a lack of imagination, passion, energy, or playing chops. Simplicity mean preparedness; this music only works because the trio is locked in the groove, dialed in, and firing on all cylinders – but, you know, simplistically, acoustically, and intimately.

Mason Porter recorded this Folkadelphia Session back in February when they were fresh off the release of their newest album Home For The Harvest. For more Mason Porter reading and listening, check out The Key’s Unlocked coverage. Mason Porter performs at Underground Arts supporting Spirit Family Reunion on Saturday, August 9th.


A focus on Fred Cockerham’s “Little Satchel” and a tight session with Mason Porter, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

Fred Cockerham

Nothing can stand in the way of true love or at least that’s what we’re led to believe. In fact, it seems, that many obstacles on this earth can block the meeting of two lovers. Such is the case in “Little Satchel,” a song composed by North Carolinian fiddle and banjo player Fred Cockerham. Continue reading →


My Morning Download: “Up, Up and Away” by Joe D’Amico (playing World Cafe Live Friday March 22nd)

JoeDamico Recently, singer-songwriter Joe D’Amico released his second solo album, A Short Time’s A Long Time Ago. Recorded at various locations including Milboy Philly. D’Amico is an excellent story teller and musician and is also a member of the band Mason Porter. D’Amico’s music falls on a broad continuum of rootsy styles including folk, bluegrass and traditional singer-songwriter material and shows his strength as a flexible artist working in various acoustic based genres. The Joe D’Amico Band performs tomorrow evening, Friday, March 22nd, at World Cafe Live. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, download “Up, Up And Away.”


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Turning Violet Violet at Kung Fu Necktie, Bleeding Rainbow at Johnny Brenda’s, Mary Lattimore at Kung Fu Necktie, Philebrity Valentine’s Day special with Juston Stens at Underground Arts, plus more

Local indie group Turning Violet Violet play Kung Fu Necktie tonight.  The Key Studio Session alums carve out chamber alt-rock songs on the fringe of art-rock that seem bathed in a purple glow, though that might just be residual effects of their band name.  Either way, the songs on Turning Violet Violet’s debut full-length Double Cure are swathe-y, sweeping compositions that strike all the right feelings chords.   Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with TeamMate and Donora can be found here.  Revisit Turning Violet Violet’s Key Session here and watch their video for “Cold Bread” below.

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With Love, From WXPN Philly Local: Download Joe D’Amico’s “Where Does The Time Go?”

It’s the season of love, and in this week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Helen Leicht of the XPN Philly Local show brings you love songs written and performed by Philadelphia artists each weekday. Today, we have a track from Joe D’Amico, who was recently featured in our Unlocked series with his new LP A Short Time’s a Long Time. The singer-songwriter (and founding member of Mason Porter) actually has a show on Valentine’s Day; he’ll be at The Fire in Northern Liberties. Download “Where Does the Time Go?” below, and check out the entire compilation here.


The Week’s Best MP3 Downloads, incl. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Gretchen Lohse, Wooden Wand

Country legends Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell have teamed up for an upcoming album called Old Yellow Moon, out through Nonesuch Records on February 26th.  “Hanging Up My Heart” was chosen by WXPN as its contribution to NPR’s new 5 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing feature.  XPN welcomes Harris and Crowell to the Academy of Music on Tuesday, March 26th with the Richard Thompson Electric Trio; tickets and information can be found here.

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Unlocked: A night out with Joe D’Amico at Kung Fu Necktie

Last night Philly singer-songwriter Joe D’Amico celebrated the release of his very guitar-rock oriented solo album, A Short Time’s A Long Time, at Kung Fu Necktie. We spent all week with the album on Unlocked, The Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia-area artists, and explored it as both a record that’s surprisingly non-folky coming from a Mason Porter founding member, to a stirring meditation on mortality and the frightening uncertainty that comes with adulthood. Spending a night out with D’Amico and his band last night was a great way to cap the week – from Brad Hinton’s spacey guitar textures swapping space with D’Amico’s ripping guitar solos, Bethany Brooks’ snappy jazzy piano work, and the tight and energetic rhythm section of bassist Phil D’Augustino and drummer Kevin Killen. There were moments that were very Wilco, moments that were very Black Keys, and moments that were just pure Joe. Check out a photo recap of the night in the gallery above, see Joe again at The Fire on Valentine’s Day and at Kennett Flash on February 15th.

A Short Time’s A Long Time is the featured album in this edition of Unlocked; hear the spotlighted song “Where Does The Time Go” in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review; see a video for “Where Does The Time Go” in Wednesday’s post and read yesterday’s interview. And stay tuned to The Key for future album spotlights on Unlocked.


Unlocked: Joe D’Amico on moving from the coffeehouse to the rock club

Tonight, Philadelphia singer-songwriter Joe D’Amico will take the stage at Kung Fu Necktie to celebrate his latest solo record, A Short Time’s A Long Time. This is sort of like stepping into a new world for him – five years ago, it would have been unheard-of for the folk scene mainstay and mandolinist of Mason Porter to play scrappy rock clubs. But that’s the vibe of his new album, which we’ve been exploring all week on Unlocked, The Key’s regular spotlight on new and significant releases from Philadelphia-area artists. We caught up with D’Amico on the phone this week to chat about the progressive direction of the new record, how he might develop his sound even further, and the trials of making louder songwriting translate onstage.

The Key: I like the way your solo albums are so different from your work with Mason Porter, the way you explore different musical territories. Is that why the solo records came to be – because you wanted to do things beyond bluegrass?

Joe D’Amico: Oh yeah, absolutely. Everything does come from “folk” in my mind, even when it translates to more psychedelic or more rock and roll kind of stuff. But Mason Porter, there’s a certain sound there that we kind of created and retained. And I just want to explore more things, and continue to do other things. There’s a such a wide range of music that I listen to – I just want to keep creating, or it gets boring.

TK: Who is the group of people you perform with when you play live? Are they the same group that made the record with you?

JD: Yes. The band is Brad Hinton (guitar), Phil D’Augustino (bass), Bethany Brooks (keys) and Kevin Killen (drums). The last record, I recorded more of it on my own, and put the band as it is now together when it came time to release that record. I kept the same band since, and I think a lot of the direction of this record came from having them. Continue reading →


The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Roots Picnic, ONUINU and #LetBonnerShoot)

Photo by Pete Troshak | |

The lineup for the 6th Annual Roots Picnic includes Gary Clark Jr., Lushlife and more [link]

Dave Hartley‘s Top of the Key returns to tell you why the NBA should #LetBonnerShoot [link]

Folk-inspired Philly songwriter Gretchen Lohse records a stunning Key Studio Session [link]

The latest album from Joe D’Amico gets the Unlocked treatment [link]

Portland dance-rock artist ONUINU chats about his upcoming show at Kung Fu Necktie [link]

Get your vote on in The Deli and Tri-State Indie‘s year-in-review polls [link]

Pitchfork gave Bleeding Rainbow‘s new LP a bad review, then premiered it anyway [link]

UK pop singer Jessie Ware played Union Transfer, reminisced about World Cafe [link]

Listen to Simian Mobie Disco recorded live on Making Time RADio [link]

Elder grunge statesmen Soundgarden brought their reunion tour to The Tower Theater [link]

Listen to Yo La Tengo cover The Spinners’ classic “I’ll Be There” from Free at Noon [link]

Ohio singer-songwriter Dolfish is spotlighted in this week’s Folkadelphia session [link]


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Guards open for Ra Ra Riot at Union Transfer, Katie Frank at Tin Angel, Joe D’Amico at Kung Fu Necktie, Femi Kuti at World Cafe Live

Photo by Olivia Malone

As if Ra Ra Riot isn’t already a solid reason to head to Union Transfer tonight, Richie Follin gives you another in a word: Guards. The younger brother of Cults’ Madeline Follin, Richie is equally talented and just as interested in the retro-pop sound that made his sister’s band so critically successful. Listening to Richie’s Guards EP from 2009 and the singles from his upcoming debut album, In Guards We Trust, it’s not surprising that Richie has played guitar for Cults when the duo toured. His music is distinct from his sister’s band, though, especially on the new album, even if his hair cut is …exactly like hers. Catch his polished, dark-tinged pop project when he opens for Ra Ra Riot. Tickets and information for the all ages show are available here. Below, watch Follin’s band in their new music video for the track “Silver Lining,” via

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